Two of London’s busiest underground stations have been evacuated after an unexploded Second World War bomb was discovered close by in the River Thames.

Police were called to Victoria Embankment close to Westminster Tube station at around 5.15pm following reports that workmen had dredged up a device while working in the river.

The ordnance was understood to be an unexploded Second World War bomb which was being assessed by specialists.

As a precaution the nearby Westminster and Embankment Underground stations were evacuated, and Victoria Embankment and Westminster Bridge were also cordoned off during the busy afternoon rush hour.

Royal Navy Bomb Disposal Unit called to River Thames

The device was discovered by civil engineers working on the north shore of the River Thames.

It was described as being around 2ft by 1ft in size and after being assessed by Met Police specialists, the Royal Navy bomb disposal unit was called in to deactivate it. The bomb disposal experts confirmed it is a Second World War bomb.

Martin Garside, of the Port of London Authority, said civil engineers had been carrying out civil engineering work at low tide when they discovered the device.

“It looks like a shell but it is definitely a Second World War bomb, it’s two feet by one foot diameter,” he said.

“It was exposed at low tide and we are waiting for the army to deactivate it.”

A large area around London’s historic attractions has been cordoned off and tube stations closed for safety. The bomb was found by Westminster Bridge. The police cordon has stopped all traffic and pedestrians accessing the area from Big Ben. The road closures in the area are expected to remain in place for some time.

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Unexploded bomb found in river thames close to houses of parliament